AUSTIN, Texas - Not all police cruisers have bullet-proof glass. On Wednesday, a law enforcement group called on state lawmakers to help police get that extra protection by demonstrating how it works.
"Once we went out and saw it, we said, we can help," said Dr. Clifford Dorn.
Dorn helped form Operation Safe Shield after two state troopers were shot in 2021.
"So we said, ‘we need to step up and do what we can in the state of Texas,’" said Dorn.
Lawmakers did pass legislation requiring all trooper vehicles to have protective glass. Dorn believes in the next legislative session, a state grant program should be created for all law enforcement.
"Our other officers are just as important as the state DPS officers," said Dorn.
Installing the glass with an interior door shield costs about $9,000. Much of the work, for the nonprofit, is done by George’s Paint and Body Shop, which is owned by Silas Garrett.
"We do have to modify the inside of the door just a little bit on the actual door, you know, inside the door panel, for the glass to go up and down. And that's the only modification we really have to do now. We don't have to trim any interior stuff. It takes about three, three hours, you know, I'm saying to do a car," said Garrett.
Operation Safe Shield, so far, has raised more than a million dollars. That helped 16 different agencies in the Brazos Valley region put ballistic glass on 85 patrol cars. Another 30 are scheduled for later this year.
The glass used in the demonstration was made by two companies, one located in Colombia and one in Utah.
"It is saving lives already," said Michael Jones, with DANA Safety Supply.
DANA is the supplier for Operation Safe Shield. Jones, after the demonstration, pointed out a key feature. Officers can shoot through the glass from inside.
"In ambush style situations where you have a suspect like you see down in New York, where they come up on the side of the car, and they have the element of surprise. Now, if they were to discharge, if they were to discharge, rounds into the side glass, now they can eliminate the threat and shoot out of that," said Jones.
DANA supply has installed ballistic glass on about 3,000 patrol cars across the state. Most of those agencies are paying for it themselves, like San Antonio PD. This year, SAPD is ramping up a glass replacement program.
APD does not have a ballistic glass program, but did have representatives at the demonstration to look at the technology.
"How much is an officer's life worth? That's what I tell people. What would you pay to protect? That guy that's going to rush to your house and save your life," said Dorn.